Monday, May 26

The Daisy Riots

You don't have to tell Shout and Twist that The Libertines parted company all of four years ago, and that alleged Pete and Carl stalkers such as The View or even Look See Proof are about as exciting as boycotting hours of Football Manager play in the midst of one's school studies, i.e. Not very. But sometimes when you least expect it to prance right in front of your very face for a good half hour, like so with The Daisy Riots couple weeks back at the Carling Academy 2, such utter energy, body sweat and meaningful chords that come off akin to a clean Cribs dancing to the first two Stereophonics records, are actually kinda cool. TDR seemed to pull their guts out to things like 'Natalie' and 'Girls Don't Play Lego', both of which possess a good old healthy sense of pop via Scouse mentality. Well, Southport mentality anyway.
The Daisy Riots Myspace

Monday, May 19

What Happened When The Raconteurs Came To Town

The Raconteurs - Carling Academy, Liverpool - 17/5/08
Some might say The Raconteurs have a bit of a soft spot for our Liverpudlian brothers. Not only is this the second of a two-date tour of the UK (which has already seen Jack White and his merry men headline London’s Hammersmith Apollo), but this very room was the setting of their first ever show way back in March 2006. Then, they were the obscure side project of said White’s. Now, The Raconteurs are an established band in their own right, even feeling confident enough to tackle the industry’s habits via the ‘non-promotion’ campaign of their second album, ‘Consolers Of The Lonely’.

Tonight, the not too big, not too small venue is crammed from wall to wall, and judging by the dim lighting, feels like more of a fourth dinner date than it does a sticky rock club. Until they come out that is, with White sporting a new hair cut akin to Gerard Way pre-Black Parade, deciding only to face the audience once he’s squealed out the chorus to set-starter ‘Consoler Of The Lonely’. Other guitarist, Brendon Benson, however, who for the record is showing off a curlier mop than ever, seems happy maintaining the frontman role.

The soothing, soulful blues of ‘You Don’t Understand Me’ is a strange place to go next, but it’s the band’s vocal unison that properly sets off the show: the perfect start. And though on record The Raconteurs can after time come off a tad dreary, in here, every key change, every plucked violin string and every one of White’s impending guitar tangents feel fresh and feisty.

No doubt each Raconteur is in possession of some kind of instrument level advancement as well, yet even after those almost classic rock few minute solos, it’s gripping rather than tedious. Besides, a spot of self-indulgence was always on the cards.
New album track ‘Attention’ and old album track ‘Blue Veins’ can’t help but fall flat of little-too-country-for-rock, but all is forgiven with ‘Hold Up’, a big-sounding epiphany of prog riffs by means of a chorus the front of the place happily roar to. “Hold Up!”

Things settle down with the twinkling guitars of ‘Level’, before Benson’s acoustic-led ‘Together’ crops up as by far the night’s most soppy of moments. Then it comes, ‘Steady, As She Goes’, which though feels a touch out of place next to the big and tough blues spectacles seen so far, it simply is a timeless tune.

An encore begun by latest release ‘Salute Your Solution’ closes with ‘Caroline Drama’, sung to the oddly low sealing until they bow down to the crowd. In a city where they clearly feel at home, this lot’s live show truly is essential to their existence. It just feels special to be here.

The Raconteurs Myspace

Tuesday, May 13

Viva la Vida: Coldplay Are On Their Way Back To Liverpool

The first time Coldplay played Liverpool, I think, was on October 27 1999 at the Royal Court. Then it was some place called The Lomax co-headlining with Terris on March 23 2000. On May 30 they supported Muse at another place I've never heard of, L2. Then they went back to the Royal Court on October 6 as part of the 'Parachutes' tour. Then, in 2002, on June 20 they supported Richard Hawley at yet another place I've never heard of, Mountford Hall. So, though they spent much time here recording their first two albums at Parr St Studios, and even some of 'X&Y' I believe, Chris Martin and co are finally coming back to Liverpool to play the Echo Arena on December 10.

Now, they are by far my most favourite band in the whole wide world and will be so for the rest of my life. I love Coldplay more than any other, and have the upmost geeky knowledge to prove it. Therefore, the fact that they are finally returning to this city is, well, amazing. That other place in England's northwest (which I'm sure they'll be playing as well) have the upper hand when it comes to supermassive bands and touring, but this just goes to show Liverpool still has some say in the minds of supermassive gig promoters.

The headline on the Liverpool Echo site read, 'Coldplay at Christmas coup for Echo Arena'. A coup is exactly what this is.

Viva la Vida
Coldplay Official Website

Thursday, May 8

Gideon Conn

Post-‘Little Britain’ Life Lesson #1: What at first appears funny and refreshing can after time become dull and predictable. This is exactly the kind of ethic that can be applied to Gideon Conn, Manchester’s very own hip-hopping/jazz-enthused/folk humourist. The name-embroidered cap and tee, the impulsive acapellas, the spaced out number which wittingly bangs on about the future though ends up emerging like Foals on a daytrip to Tennessee. It is, at the outset, a good bit of rightful fun, but half-hour later of his arrival at Carling Academy last week and the novelty of trying to figure out whether it was all just a big joke couldn't help but worn off. Still, a better prospect to herald his city than Liam Fray no less.
Gideon Conn Myspace

Thursday, May 1

April - Albums Of Last Month

I won't lie to you, but this is quite the landmark for Shout and Twist. Why? Because for the first time ever not one but two albums released within the last four weeks have been awarded the prestigious Album Of Last Month title, hence the Albums Of Last Month. Big stuff.
Cajun Dance Party - The Colourful Life - XL
The music press have been way too harsh on these with their debut. NME couldn't get over the fact they're all below the age of 20, and Drowned In Sound figured they were just too posh. I, however, think this is one of the best albums shelved out to us all this year thus far. Minus their ages and minus their background, 'The Colourful Life' is a brilliant debut, overflowing with herds of pop nuggets as body-tingling as watching Gavin and Stacey for the first time (Season 2, that is). It couldn't start more perfectly with the carefree flow of its title track, all before new single 'The Race' hits you via the finest outtro since, er, White Lies' 'Death' or something.'The Next Untouchable' and 'Amylase' aside, 'No Joanna', 'Buttercups' and 'The Hill, The View & The Lights' too ride the right side of bright and shiny pop. This is the album I hoped they would make.
Colourful Life
Cajun Dance Party Myspace

The Envy Corps - Dwell - Vertigo
When I saw this lot last summer at the Water Rats in London I figured they were good, had some strong singles, but would never climb too high in my musical mind of greatness. 'Dwell' however, enables such. Some strong singles? Every track on here could be, stocked by means of shear soulful and atmospheric sensibility. Like Modest Mouse with Doves as a backing band. What happened between last summer and now I don't know, but they've certainly found the right tools in order to produce the goods, such as with 'Keys To Good Living', 'Before The Gold Rush', 'Rooftop' and 'Baby Teeth'. The Envy Corps are here to gladly remind us of the difference between The Feeling and Keane, exhibiting that good old indie flag like few others.
Before The Gold Rush
The Envy Corps Myspace